5 Meditation Benefits to Help You Beat the Blues

Recently a pregnant mama came early to class and told me she was so miserable that she just started googling and calling places saying “do you have anything for me?”

I was so glad she found my prenatal yoga class – not just because of all the meditation benefits I’m going to tell you about, but because she learned a valuable lesson: when we reach out with receptivity, we often find what what we need.

She had been crying constantly and had gone on medication for a while. In class she told me that just feeling less alone in her negative feelings changed everything.

Studies show that almost half of women experience trauma during birth, and the same amount feel some degree of depression in the 18 months around birth. 

The experience is often made worse by the pressure of feeling that this time is supposed to be the happiest time of their lives. 

And, to top it off, many moms-to-be also experience the fear that these negative feelings will have an impact on their baby.

It was also smart of her to come to yoga specifically, because most Prenatal Yoga classes (and every Ma Yoga class) starts with some form of meditation; and numerous studies have found that meditation can help prevent and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

ma-morning-meditation meditation benefit

If you have negative feelings that are hard to handle (if you’re a new mom and these feelings last all day for more than 2 weeks, it’s considered post-partum depression), you should definitely talk to your doctor; you don’t have to keep feeling this way!

And even your doctor – if they’ve been keeping up on the latest studies (see #1 below) – might steer you toward meditation. 

Here are 5 meditation benefits to explain why it’s so effective in helping you feel better:

Meditation Benefit #1:  It balances our hormones

When we have our baby we also lose an entire organ, the placenta. When else does this happen in life? The body has to find normal again, and the process can be hard on the emotions. Both meditation as well as pranayama (breathing exercises) can help the body find homeostasis.

According to the latest studies:

  • Meditation boosts endorphins – the “runner’s high” – which reduce pain and increases the feeling of love.
  • Meditation increases GABA – a mood-stabilizing neurotransmitter that is known to be low in people with panic disorders and addictions
  • Meditation increases DHEA – a hormone that reduces depression, improves memory and strengthens the immune system
  • Meditation increases melatonin – a hormone produced in the brain, especially before sleep, to allow for restful sleep.

Meditation Benefit 2: It helps us see the difference between our thoughts and reality

We are more than our thoughts. If you don’t believe that, just notice the next thought you have.

What’s noticing?

This part of us has many names – awareness, consciousness, our higher Self. 

Whatever you choose to call it, having a daily reminder that our thoughts are more limited than we are can release us from feeling trapped in anxiety, even depression.

Instead of getting lost in negative thoughts, people who meditate often generate an automatic response that says “that’s just a thought”; and are able to go about their life more easily.

In a study published in JAMA by psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, people who were taught meditation with stress reduction reported far greater improvement than those who learned stress management techniques alone.

Meditation Benefit 3: When is includes a gratitude practice, happiness can go up 25%

We know that happy people often feel grateful, but a study by Dr. Robert Emmons (author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier) showed that the reverse is true as well: when we practice gratitude, we get happier.

When I had my baby, I started grabbing a notebook when I found a moment to meditate. 

First would come all the things I needed to remember to do, and I’d write them down just to get them out of my head.

But after the meditation, I would write down some things that happened the day before that I was grateful for. 

For instance, today I wrote that my 7 year old wanted to play wrestle and roll down a grassy hill with me over and over. 

And I received a call from a mom who wants help finding her next career.

Just remember, gratitude is a practice. It requires action, not just thinking.

We must write or say or express it in some way, not just feel it, to receive its benefits. 

When we shift our focus to the good stuff flowing toward us from the universe, we start to notice it more throughout the day; we becoming more open to receiving; we feel more grateful, and we find ourselves in an uplifting, life-embracing loop.

Meditation Benefit 4: It helps us experience our deepest longings

According to yoga, in the space of awareness, consciousness arises within us in the form of desire. Tantric yoga philosophy teaches that desire is not something to detach from or suppress, but rather an empowering evolutionary impulse to open to and align with.

When we discover what we want, whether it’s to call an old friend or start a mom business, we feel more hopeful that things can change. 

New studies show that hope (and the latest – hope therapy) can help us fight depression and lead to a higher satisfaction with life.

Meditation Benefit 5: It helps us feel connected to each other

When we start to feel separate, it’s easy to compare and come out lacking: she’s so happy, she looks great, I don’t have what it takes.

But when we focus on our breath and/or our awareness, we are focusing on something that is the same in all of us. 

This brings us to a place of connection, and we start to remember the other ways we are all the same: We are all doing the best we can. 

We all love our children. And you might even get a hit of these now and again: we are all powerful beyond measure. Life is pure bliss. I am love.

And if these benefits of meditation aren’t enough for you to inspire you to do it for yourself – just remember your little one will be learning about meditation whenever you do it!

For a super powerful yet quick visualization to try, check out this easy meditation blog

Or try a free 5-Day Meditation Challenge – you’ll get a short MP3 for each day so you can experience all these meditation benefits for yourself!

 

Thank you for spreading the Ma love!

Related Posts

Sarah Kate Bode yoga community for pregnancy

Community is a Much Deeper Need for Pregnancy

I was thrilled to find out I was pregnant in 2021 after years of trying and being diagnosed with PCOS. I had received my 200 hour YTT certification in 2020 and knew how much yoga would help my changing and growing body, however, I couldn’t find any prenatal yoga courses or programs locally, I had just moved from a big city to a much smaller rural town and I just didn’t have a community yet…

Read More »
jessea weideman Certified Ma Yoga Instructor

Becoming a Beginning Teacher Again by Jessea Wiedeman, Certified Ma Yoga Instructor

Sometimes as a yoga teacher you forget two things: One is that not everyone is going to like the style of your teaching and two, you forget to continue to be a student of the practice. I felt this way for a little over a year about the avenue of what type of yoga I want to focus on teaching and how I could get more experience to be able to feel confident in my teaching skills. This is when I found Ma Yoga.

Read More »